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      The Metaphorical and Mythical Use of the Kidney in Antiquity

      American Journal of Nephrology

      S. Karger AG

      Kidney, Metaphor, Medical philosophy, Ancient history, medicine, Mythology, Bible

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          Abstract

          While the Syrians and the Arabs viewed the liver as the center of life, the kidneys, in contrast, held a primary place of importance in Israel. In Hebrew tradition, they were considered to be the most important internal organs along with the heart. In the Old Testament most frequently the kidneys are associated with the most inner stirrings of emotional life. But they are also viewed as the seat of the secret thoughts of the human; they are used as an omen metaphor, as a metaphor for moral discernment, for reflection and inspiration. This field of tension in metaphoric usage is resolved under the conception of the kidneys as life center. In the Old Testament the kidneys thus are primarily used as metaphor for the core of the person, for the area of greatest vulnerability. For us today, this metaphorical use of the kidneys has lost its meaning. One reason for its disappearance is certainly the monopoly of causal-analytic rationality in science of today. The kidney has developed from myth to organ, and with this transition a variety of perspectives and ways of looking at knowledge inherent in imaginative thought have been lost. But the metaphor uncovers a deeper level of truth, it represents another form of reconstruction of reality which needs not necessarily be subordinate to the scientific rationality. Today as well, these imaginative ideas can provide an approach to an essential level of reality which may otherwise remain hidden.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          AJN
          Am J Nephrol
          10.1159/issn.0250-8095
          American Journal of Nephrology
          S. Karger AG
          978-3-8055-6855-5
          978-3-318-00128-0
          0250-8095
          1421-9670
          1999
          April 1999
          23 April 1999
          : 19
          : 2
          : 101-106
          Affiliations
          Institute for the History of Medicine and Science, University of Lübeck, Germany
          Article
          13434 Am J Nephrol 1999;19:101–106
          10.1159/000013434
          10213802
          © 1999 S. Karger AG, Basel

          Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

          Page count
          References: 32, Pages: 6
          Product
          Self URI (application/pdf): https://www.karger.com/Article/Pdf/13434
          Categories
          Origins of Nephrology – Magic, Myth and Science

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